If your skin has cleared up, but your jawline acne is worse than ever, you aren’t alone. This is a very common problem, but luckily, it’s relatively easy to solve once you know what’s going on.
Acne on the chin and jawline, also called the “U-zone,” can be caused by any number of mechanical factors. However, it can also be an indication of irregular hormone levels.
The better-known “T-zone” is the area of the face including the forehead and nose, and it is known for being particularly acne-prone because it produces more oil, or sebum, than the rest of the face. However, the U-zone can have plenty of acne issues, too.
The Relationship Between Dry Skin and Acne
The U-zone is the region of the face that includes the temples, cheeks, jawline, and chin. Unlike the T-zone, this area produces less oil rather than more, so the skin is typically dry. Although excess oil can definitely contribute to acne, not enough oil causes acne on the jawline as well.
Three Main Causes of Acne
There are three main causes of acne:
- Inflammation 🔥
- Bacteria 🦠
- Oil production
Oily skin has more acne due to excess oil, but acne in dry skin is more likely due to inflammation caused by irritation.
Dry skin is more likely to become inflamed because it is often more irritated by minor things, such as constant scratching or touching, or even harsh winter air. Overactive oil glands are undesirable, but our skin needs a thin layer of protective sebum.
Inflammation 🔥 causes the tissue around the pores to swell slightly and prevents especially microbes from penetrating them. Excess sebum production caused by irritation is another of the body’s protective measures against irritants and bacteria 🦠. However, because of the inflammation, extra oil, any dead skin cells, or bacteria already present, get trapped in the pore. This can cause everything from blackheads to cysts and pustules.
The Top 6 Causes of Jawline Acne
Because the jawline naturally produces less sebum, it is easily irritated and acne-prone. There are many reasons the jawline can become irritated and inflamed, but the top ten include:
- Sports headgear with chin straps
- Violin playing
- Constantly resting your chin in your hands
- Disrupted hormone levels
- Using the wrong skin products or acne treatments
Shaving and Jawline Acne
There are several factors involved in shaving that could contribute to acne along the jawline, such as shaving cream, dull razors, or hairs that get left behind. Each of these issues could cause acne anywhere, not just on the chin and jawline. However, because this area typically has dry skin, it’s a common location for shaving-related acne.
Shaving creams should generally be avoided if you have dry or sensitive skin. They tend to contain foaming 🧼 agents and fragrances that can be quite irritating. A potential solution could be to switch to a shaving gel, because it doesn’t have any foaming chemicals, and there are plenty of fragrance-free options.
Another potential issue when it comes to shaving is a dull razor 🪒. Dull razors cause razor burn because instead of cutting the hair, they can bend the hair back into the follicle, which triggers the inflammation response in the body. Also, it can be hard to get a clean shave along the jaw because of its shape, which means you may run the razor across it several times. This repetition can definitely cause irritation.
You can also try shaving in the shower, as this allows for the soap and hair to be rinsed off 🚿 more thoroughly.
Acne Mechanica Along the Jawline
Another primary cause of jawline acne is friction and pressure, often caused by playing sports that require headgear with a chin strap, or playing instruments like the violin 🎻. This type of pimple is called “acne mechanica.”
Playing the violin or wearing a chin strap causes friction and pressure in that area, a perfect recipe for pimples, especially in dry skin.
How To Prevent Acne Mechanica
First, be sure to wash your face 🧼 and your instrument or chin strap before and after every use. This will help to get rid of bacteria, dirt, and extra sebum.
We recommend washing your face with a facewash containing low concentrations of salicylic acid. This will help break up any sebum that got clogged in the pores, but it shouldn’t irritate the skin.
How To Stop Touching Your Face
One of the biggest causes of acne mechanica is touching the face too much. Sometimes it’s due to popping pimples excessively or incorrectly (Yes, there is a correct way to do this!) but during the course of a day, we often touch our faces unconsciously, for instance when we’re thinking deeply, or feeling bored, stressed, or tired. This can especially affect jawline acne.
Even though touching the face alone isn’t enough to cause acne, these minor gestures can make pimples worse.
Remember, your hands carry a lot of bacteria, and they produce their own oils. Whenever they come into contact with your face, they transfer those bacteria and oils to your skin, and cause minor irritation.
To stop this habit, start by raising your awareness of it by applying a strong-smelling hand lotion, for instance. Make sure it’s a scent you’re unaccustomed to, so that every strong whiff can raise your consciousness of what you’re doing with your hands 👏.
When your awareness has improved, you can work on preventing this habit. Try using a lotion with a scent you don’t like, or painting your nails when you find yourself getting tired or stressed. It’s a relaxing activity, and you are less likely to touch your face with wet nails.
Hormones Might Be To Blame for Breakouts
Fluctuating hormones, especially in women and teenagers 🧑🤝🧑, can be the reason for U-zone pimples. If your breakouts are more severe about a week before a menstrual cycle starts, their cause could be hormonal.
Which Treatments Will Help for Acne Associated with Hormones?
In these cases, medical hormone regulators such as birth control pills or spironolactone 💊 might be the answer, but they are prescription-only treatments. So, you will have to visit your dermatologist or doctor for a proper diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment for spots on the jaw. Men can also consider hormonal treatments, but for them these treatments are often associated with unwanted side effects.
Products That Can Cause Jawline Acne
Many products can cause or exacerbate pimples on the chin and jawline. The skin here is typically drier than elsewhere, so skin care products that work well for your forehead or nose 👃 can sometimes cause issues in the U-zone. However, the two main culprits are makeup foundation and abrasive acne treatment products.
Using the wrong kind of foundation or forgetting to remove makeup definitely contributes to breakouts.
When you remove makeup at night, you could forget to remove the foundation applied to the jaw. Makeup can clog pores if it is on the skin too long, so it’s important to remove it gently every night.
Even if you remove your makeup completely, it can still lead to acne if you’re using the wrong kind. This is especially true of foundation. Before buying, check for labels 📝 like “non-comedogenic,” “non-pore-clogging,” or “oil-free.” Those are far less likely to clog the pores.
Not All Acne Products Are Equal
Very abrasive acne treatment products can also lead to more jawline acne. Many use similar active ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, but they use these ingredients in very different concentrations. Some big companies use irresponsibly high concentrations for immediate results, but these products dry out and irritate the skin quickly, leading to even more severe breakouts. Also, treatments like chemical peels and very abrasive scrubs can exacerbate inflammation, which is bad news for spots.
The Best Products for Reducing Jawline Acne
The most important step in treating any kind of acne is to do your full skin care routine every day. It’s also important to use the kind of products that are sufficiently gentle with the skin but tough on acne.
Our best recommendation is to find products that combine acne-fighting ingredients at low concentrations. For instance, salicylic acid is available in concentrations anywhere from 0.5% to 3%, or potentially even higher with a prescription.
For acne in the U-zone or along the jawline specifically, we also recommend a moisturizer 🧴. Many people with acne avoid moisturizers because they’re afraid of clogging their pores, but this is one of the most important steps, especially for acne in the U-zone. Look for one that is water-based, rather than oil or alcohol-based.
The best way to treat acne along the jawline without drying out the skin is with Exposed Skin Care’s Expanded Kit 🏆. Our kits include everything you need to help get rid of excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria that cause acne—and keep skin clear and healthy. We recommend the Expanded Kit for dry skin because it includes our Moisture Complex, a water-based moisturizer that contains vitamin E, green tea extract 🍃, and other soothing ingredients to keep skin hydrated. Jawline acne can be stubborn, but with Exposed Skin Care, breakouts don’t have to be permanent.